Driving - Want to learn but scared!!!

(25 Posts)
HaveAGoodDay Fri 06-Sep-13 12:06:15

Okay so I'm now at the stage in my life where I really should be driving - my eldest will be going to secondary school in a couple of years & I feel it would be best if I was able to drive before then.

I was never encouraged by my parents to learn when I was younger, we never had the spare money for lessons. My mum never learned, neither did my older sister so I never had any 'inspiration' - iykwim? Only my dad & brothers & husband drive.

I don't know why I'm afraid of driving. I feel inadequate that I can't drive, like the kids sometimes have to miss out on things, as their dad is at work & I can't take them out anywhere. There's been a few parties they've had to miss just because I can't drive!

It's sounds silly, something people do everyday, probably without a second thought but it really bugs me sometimes & I think time is running out, I'm not getting younger, if anything I've left it far too late as it is!

Any tips anyone? Did you feel scared about learning to drive & how did you overcome your anxieties? What's driving like now - best thing you ever did?

Stropzilla Fri 06-Sep-13 12:12:20

Yes me! Im in the same situation. I found a lovely lady instructor and explained it. By the end of my first lesson I was shaking with terror but she reassured me and I'm quite confident now! I may even pass my test. Do it. Is scary especially if you are older but not that bad. Just find a teacher you get on well with and don't be afraid to change if you're not happy. Good luck!

CheungFun Fri 06-Sep-13 12:18:09

I've just passed my driving test and although it's been hard at times, I say go for it!

I think it's a big commitment to learn to drive, so be sure before you start, and once you've started just don't stop and keep going until you pass your test!

I had two 1.5 hour lessons a week and I think it took me about 4.5 months to learn. I was very nervous at the beginning and even cried after one lesson, but I kept at it and passed my theory test first time and booked the practical test straightaway and passed that first time too!

It has made my life easier as I don't have to catch the bus to take DS to nursery and get to work, no more waiting around for late buses, standing up whilst clutching the buggy on the busy buses, getting wet in the rain and waiting in the dark! That was my big motivation!

Also now I can drive to my friends house instead of feeling guilty that she mainly has to drive to mine. And I've joined the gym as now I don't need to ask for a lift or rely on friends, I can get myself there and back!

My DM didn't learn to drive until she was 40 something, and the same for my grandma. I think it is easier to learn when you're 17 as you've got no fear, but you'll be a much better driver as you will be sensible and not take risks!

valiumredhead Fri 06-Sep-13 12:20:21

I was terrified I only spotted being scared months after if passed my testgrin

Only way to stop being scared is to do itsmile

valiumredhead Fri 06-Sep-13 12:20:36

Stopped

Yes it's one of the best things I've ever done. I passed two years ago in my early 30s. Key is to find an instructor you trust. Ask around and try a few out but yes do get on and do this because it will make life so much easier for you and the family. We always managed when i couldn't drive but no question life is less stressful now and I actually LOVE driving grin

valiumredhead Fri 06-Sep-13 12:31:36

I learned when I was 37grin

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Fri 06-Sep-13 14:30:33

We bought an automatic to make it easier!

I passed about two weeks ago at 31 with a wonderful female instructor who was really kind and patient.

My first instructor never made me feel comfortable in the car and I should have got rid of him long before I did. Don't be afraid to change if you need to.

I still have a little wibble every time I climb into the drivers seat, but DH is tough, had me driving around London and on motorways as soon as I passed, with him working in the back seat and ignoring my swearing and wobbles.

It has already changed my life, I can do the supermarket shop any time, visit all the places I love easily and without having to drag along DH and the DCs. When DH is away I am not trapped in the local area, if there is an accident with the DCs I can whisk them to hospital easily (Ds stuck a green bean up his nose one Christmas Eve and poor DH had to sit for four hours in casualty after work). I can visit my mum whenever I want on my own or with just one child, I can take DC to after school parties and activities, pick DH up from the station, run stuff to the dump/ charity shop without having to wait for DH. I have a new course that means I will have to visit all sorts of archives etc and I will be able to do this much more easily. I am not reliant on friends, family or public transport ( or my own aching feet).

Forgetfulmog Fri 06-Sep-13 14:38:06

Oh good, glad to see its not just me terrified of learning to drive! I've got a dd now & it's starting to be a real pain not driving & having to rely on lifts (especially with car seats!). I'm so scared though, I have the attention span of a goldfish & am terrified I'd just cause an accident if I learnt shock.

ZombiesAteMyBigToe Fri 06-Sep-13 14:59:36

Accidents were my biggest fear but my mother, father, PIL etc have been driving for fifty years and have never had an accident. Neither has my DH who has been driving for ten years.

My brother has, but he has a sports car and was racing his boss (in a Ferrari, don't get me started!) about five years ago and his boss went into the back of him. I don't know anyone who has had an accident, really, nothing more than a minor fender bender and it has never been their fault.

One thing I noticed is a lot of it becomes instinctive, I was driving and something didn't feel right in my peripheral vision and I automatically reacted. DH started praising me but I was baffled. Turned out a knob sitting in my blind spot had tried to pull in behind me but I was slowing for a turn off.

That sort of instinctive reaction has happened several times since.

My driving instructor said that the nervous learners make the best drivers ultimately because they are aware of everything that can go wrong. Less confident and more cautious and self aware. They have often had much more instruction too before feeling confident enough to take the test.

You'll be fine, it's frightening but exhilarating (I love the feel of accelerating quickly and zooming along at 70) and offers so much freedom.

'My driving instructor said that the nervous learners make the best drivers ultimately because they are aware of everything that can go wrong. Less confident and more cautious and self aware. They have often had much more instruction too before feeling confident enough to take the test.' - that's what my instructor said too and it's right. I KNOW I am a safe driver. Not the flashiest grin but safe. Like others I was worried I would kill somebody but with practice driving does become instinctive - even for somebody like me who struggles with hand-eye co-ordination and whilst anybody can have an accident of course, I think I'm a safe competent driver.

Stropzilla Fri 06-Sep-13 16:18:49

I have had to do 2 real emergency stops. It really is second nature toy don't even think. I agree being a little nervous can make you hyper aware. Too nervous is not a good thing obviously as it can make you hesitate and that will fail you.

valiumredhead Fri 06-Sep-13 16:25:12

I had to do a real emergency stop on my test, some twat ran out on the road. The instructor said it was excellent <proud>grin

HaveAGoodDay Sat 07-Sep-13 21:47:02

Thanks for the encouragement! Im not planning on telling anyone (friends & family) that im thinking of/taking lessons as yet, just going to see how it goes first. Im more for learning in an automatic as I know it will be much easier, but DH really wants me to try a manual. I did have a go once a long time ago, there use to be an old run down, off the road place where you could practice in your own car - a friend took me. I enjoyed it & didn't feel nervous because it wasn't on the main road, I just couldn't co-ordinate the clutch/gear! It's a shame that place has shut down now.

When I mentioned to the kids that I may be learning to drive, they jumped in the air shouting 'yes'. It would mean so much to them. We stayed with my brother in law recently & usually he drives, but on this occassion, she did the driving & we were following her car & my kids were really in awe of her because she could drive - they are only ever use to seeing daddy drive or their uncle.

Well only one way to find out! I've filled my form in now!

CheungFun Sat 07-Sep-13 22:03:46

Good for you! If you want to learn in an automatic instead of a manual I think it's fine, the main thing is being able to get from a to b! Good luck with it all and keep going!

Forgetfulmog Sun 08-Sep-13 03:41:45

Good luck op, that's really amazing smile

pinknails Mon 09-Sep-13 19:50:32

Another new learner here. I'm 45 and after years of wanting to but being scared had my first lesson last week :-)
Got another tomorrow and though still nervous feel very excited.
Definitely go for it. Good luck.
Just hope one day I pass.

valiumredhead Mon 09-Sep-13 20:18:46

I learned in an automatic as our family car is an auto,Dh hates gears even though he's a very experienced driver and had his hgv license. I figured if it was good enough for him and millions of Americans then it was fine for mewink

HaveAGoodDay Tue 10-Sep-13 12:56:12

Well done Pinknails! Stick with it & you will pass & be driving one day, how good does that sound?

We were travelling to my parents the other day & for the first time I actually felt I wanted to be driving, like I was sat next to DH & thought I want to be the driver, never felt that before! So I'm on the right track now & in the right frame of mind!

Kerry001 Sat 12-Jul-14 19:11:12

Hi HaveAGoodDay and pinknails, just wondered if you passed your test in the end? I'm 42 and trying to find the courage to learn! I've found the comments on here really helpful.

HaveAGoodDay Fri 12-Dec-14 10:49:38

Just found this thread that I started ages ago! I'm not driving yet, haven't even took lessons! It was put on the back burner as we moved house this year so any funds we had has gone toward that!

But the whole driving thing has been biting at me again, this is something I must do this year! We have a major job to do with the house which will cost £££ so that's a priority, but somehow I must start learning to drive withing the next 16 months!

BuilderMammy Fri 12-Dec-14 10:59:41

My mum drove but won't do an unfamiliar route, won't park, won't reverse, won't do motorway or multistorey carparks. She leaves all that to my dad. For her entire working life he had to move his car out of the drive, park it, reverse hers off the drive, park it, get back into his and drive away - every single morning. So I grew up seeing driving as a man thing and not for us poor little scared womenfolk hmm

I now live in the country and travel 70km each way to work. I have two small kids as well. All our driving was done by DH till last year when he got very sick and couldn't drive at all for 3 months. I couldn't get to work (public transport between here and work is terrible and incompatible with creche hours, plus the creche is only accessible by car).

I was mortified and decided that that was the end of it, I was bloody well learning.

I passed my test last month and it has made a huge difference to our lives. The first time I went out alone I bawled crying on the motorway - not out of fear, but because I was so happy to have some independence : ) I'm at home alone today and I have the car, and I'm happily wondering where I'm going to go.

It really, really is worth it.

HolgerDanske Fri 12-Dec-14 11:01:05

I did it this year at 38, passed second time. It's great and makes such a difference. It wasn't that bad, honest!

You can do it! smile

Showy Fri 12-Dec-14 11:09:59

Oh do it do it do it.

In a couple of months you could be driving. I kept saying I would do it but the turning point was a cock up over who was taking dd to school. It was snowing, the bus was cancelled, her lift to school was 16 miles away and had forgotten her. I had a perfectly serviceable car in the driveway but no idea how to move it from a to b. I felt so bloody small and pathetic as I telephoned the school and explained dd would be very late. I phoned an instructor and booked my theory test that day (had a provisional licence languishing in the drawer) and became the most determined learner ever. I was afraid the whole time. After 7 weeks I passed my test first time with no minors. The world opened up to me. It was pathetic of me to leave it for so long. I now drive more than dh and my dc were so proud of me.

It's tough at first and you can't imagine coordinating all of it at once but the amount of stuff you need to do in a car is finite. And basic believe it or not. The variation comes from the situations you meet on the road and that's just experience/practice.

I passed last year and I get in the drive and give no thought whatsoever to driving the car iyswim. I am focused on the road and other cars but all that gears, clutch, indicate stuff happens on its own after a while.

Do it. DO IT.

HaveAGoodDay Fri 12-Dec-14 17:47:51

Thanks for the encouraging comments and your stories, it's great hearing them!

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